Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This is a recipe I found back in the first years of marriage (can't remember where I got it...sorry!). Tony loved cookie cake and I'd never made one before so I found this recipe and it was a keeper! We've been making it since, and now that Kyla knows how to make it, she's going to be our cookie cake maker from now on!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients then mix in chocoalte chips and walnuts if desired. Bake 30-35 minutes or until surface springs back. Cool before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream! YUMMY!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Leftover turkey Ciabatta Sandwiches

If you've got some leftover turkey I've got the most wonderful sandwich that you have just got to try!! Tony (the hubby) and I ate one every day for 3 days straight and ran out of Ciabatta bread and were not too pleased!:) They are that good!!

Ciabatta Turkey Sandwiches
Ciabatta rolls
leftover turkey breast (white meat)
red onion, cut into rings and separated
cheese (your favorite...we just used sliced cheese but I think some Havarti would be divine on this sandwich!)
Guacamole (we just use a guacamole mix found by the produce in walmart with some avocados)
miracle whip/mayo

First you need to toast your ciabatta roll. (these are found in the bakery section of most grocery stores...we got ours at walmart) Spread you choice of miracle whip or mayo on one slice and lots of guacamole on the other.

Use a small frying pan and put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom and then cook your onion and turkey together in the oil until a little browned. Salt and pepper to taste. Place on one side of the ciabatta roll.

Now just pile on all the other toppings. Cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

Smooch together and take a bite of heaven!!:)

Seriously, these were so good. Don't skip the is what makes this sandwich in my opinion!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Soup (for crockpot!)

I wish I used my crockpot more...I always feel so good when I've got dinner ready and cooking by noon! Nothing better than being asked at 5:30 what's for dinner and actually having a response...takes my hubby and kids by surprise every time I don't say "I don't know!" So with that here's an AWESOME recipe that even my kids enjoyed.

Black-eyed Pea Soup
 (by 365 Crockpot!)
1 pound dried black eyed peas
1 pound spicy sausage (I used some kielbasa sausage)
6 cups chicken broth
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Tabasco sauce (to taste...or omit!)

Soak your beans overnight. (This is the hardest part for me to remember...don't forget!:)) Drain in the morning.

Dice the veggies, and put them into your crockpot with the beans. Add your sliced sausage and then pour in the broth, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6.

Ladle into bowls, and add Tabasco sauce to taste...or if you're a wimp like me, just don't even go there!:)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Muddy Buddies!

These are one of the easiest and most yummy (and a kid pleaser) snacks EVER!! Kyla was in charge of taking snacks for her DI (Destination Imagination) practice last week and so this is what we made and shared! It would also make a fun gift for teachers/neighbors!

Muddy Buddies

9 cups Chex (rice, wheat, corn, chocolate or a brand works well too!)
1 cup semi-sweet chocoalte chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal and pour into a large bowl and set aside.
In a microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute then stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal and stir until all the cereal is coated. Pour into 2-gallon food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar, seal bag and shake well until coated. Spread on a cookies sheet or on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator (if it doesn't get eaten right away!)

We just put some in a plastic baggie and tied them up with red ribbon for Kyla to take to her practice, and I think they turned out pretty darn cute and SUPER easy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pan Rolls (our favorite EASY rolls!)

One of the reasons I love these rolls is because I can make them in about 1 1/2 hours start to hot-right-out-of-the-oven! They are light and have a wonderful flavor!  These are my go-to rolls...they are made OFTEN at our house!

Pan Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cups butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in the 1/2 cups of warm water. In your mixer add butter, eggs, milk powder, salt, water, sugar and 3 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. (In my bosch I add flour until it starts "licking" the sides clean and most of the bottom) Let knead in mixer for 6-8 minutes. Divide into about 24 pieces and then shape into balls. (I just grab a chunk at a time of whatever size I like and place them in the pan!) Place in 2 9x13 greased pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. After you take them out grab a stick of butter and slather the tops of them with it.

YUMMY! These are gobbled up at our house so fast...and they make wonderful bread from leftover turkey sandwiches too...just FYI!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake

This recipe is SO GOOD. Although it's origins are a bit just might have been copied without consent by a former roommate of mine!:) I'm so glad she did and that she shared it with me!! This has been a staple in our family for the past 13 years! It's a pleaser and super easy!!

Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake

1 cake mix (lemon, yellow or white...I really like the lemon myself!)
4 eggs
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix all ingredients together until nice and smooth. About 3 minutes or so. (mixture tends to be a little bit runnier than a normal cake mix so don't stress and think you've added too much will turn out just fine!)

Grease bundt pan REALLY WELL with shortening making sure to get in all the little crevices.

Sprinkle pan with sugar and cinnamon.

Pour cake mixture into greased bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until browned and toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake cook for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Run a butter knife around all the edges...make sure to get around the middle as well. Place a plate on top of cake...say a prayer...and flip.

If you've done a good job greasing it should come out flawless. If not it might have a few pieces missing, like that chunk missing in mine!:)

Now for the glaze!
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 Tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients together and stir well. If not runny enough to drizzle over your cake add a little more milk.

Then just go to town drizzling all over the cake!

Enjoy! (and I hope you liked my step by step instructions with was fun for me!:))

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Easy Peasy Beef Stew

Be prepared for a really easy and scrumptious dinner!! Just make some homemade rolls (or cheat like I did and do some Rhodes Rolls...or even just buy your favorite kind) and you've got an instant hit! Perfect for these wonderfully cold winter days!

Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
5 potatoes, cubed
3 cups cubed carrots (I just halve my baby carrots)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
1/2 cups frozen corn (optional)

In a dutch oven (or skillet) sear meat in a little oil. (I like to boil my meat in water for a few hours before I do this to help tenderize the meat...there's nothing worse than gnawing on a piece of meat for 10 minutes, and this works like a charm!) Add potatoes, carrots, soups, water and pepper. Mix well. Cover. Bake in 300 degree oven for 2 hours or until veggies are tender or bake 250 degrees for 5-6 hours. Or use your crock pot...this is what I usually do and it takes about 2 hours on high and 4-5 on low.

Add the frozen peas and corn the last 30 minutes of cooking if desired...I usually don't just because I forget, but I really like them in there. The kids and hubby could do without the peas but they all really like the corn in there!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scones (for Navajo Taco's)

Here is the best scone recipe I've ever had (thanks Mom!) and how to make Navajo taco's for the few out there who have never had the experience of a Navajo Taco. You're in for a treat!!


2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups warm water
2 eggs
7-8 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. While yeast is "growing", combine butter, salt, sugar, water, eggs and 4 cups of the flour. Mix in blender until smooth. Add the remaining flour until dough forms. You don't want too much flour, it needs to be a soft dough, but not too sticky either! I ended up using closer to 8 cups of flour.

Now you can either put the dough in the fridge until you are ready to fry it or you can roll it out and get going.

Roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter (or whatever you have) and cut the dough horizontal and then vertical. I make mine about 3 inches or 4 inches or so...I like them rectangular, but square or triangles or whatever works as well.

Fry in 400 degree oil until browned on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

For Navajo taco's you: (sorry that I forgot to take a picture of the final product, you're just going to have to use your imaginations here!)
1. place scone on plate
2. slather with chili (homemade, store bought, whatever you like the best!)
3. sprinkle on cheese (whatever flavor you like)
4. dollop of sour cream or ranch, whichever you prefer
5. Top with lettuce, tomatoes and olives.

This is one of my kid's favorite meals and really pretty easy! ENJOY!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas!

I had a request for ideas for Christmas gifts this year so I went a lookin'!! I've found some great many in fact I don't know which one I want to use there are too many good ideas!! Check out these links...I'm so glad there are creative people in the world that I can copy!!!!:)

Here are some ideas from The Dating Diva's. They have some pretty cute ideas...Here's 2 that I really liked!
Nut Rocha!

A "Souper" Christmas!

If you have lots of time and a bunch of cute little jars that you don't mind giving away...this looks absolutely DIVINE! Or maybe you could just give a few of these away to a few "special" friends, and eat a whole bunch yourself!:) This one comes from one of my favorite blogs...Our Best Bites

Here's another post from Our Best Bites...they have a ton of ideas on this post...scroll through all of them...she has some really great ones towards the end like:
Double Chocolate Waffle Mix

and Garlic Bread Seasoning

Here's some more wonderful ideas from another one of my favorite blogs...Your Homebased Mom. Here's a few of my favorite ideas from her site:
Cookies and Cream Bark

Cinnamon Toast White Chocolate Pretzels

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce in a jar (with or without ice cream!)

And then last but not least, here are a few ideas from ME!!:)

One year I gave breadsticks and cheese dip to everyone I know!:) It was a pretty easy one to do...just make a big batch of breadsticks and cheese dip and divide them up and put in cute little containers. It was a big hit...and I got a lot of requests for the recipes! Here's the link (and a picture!)

Or how about some cookies...very easy and you can make the packaging really cute with some ribbon or whatever! Here is a link to all the cookies I have favorites for this time of year would be:

Breads are always a crowd pleaser too...and not to mention pretty easy and not very expensive...all musts for me!!!:)

or the fabulous Almond Poppyseed Bread

Which idea is your favorite? Or is there another favorite you like that I don't know about?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

ere's another recipe that Kyla and I made for out Thankful for Pie Night...yeah, I know it's not a pie, but I just can't pass up making a cheesecake whenever I can... Anyway, this was Kyla's first REAL cheesecake and it was a lot of fun to teach her the basics of making a cheesecake and I think she enjoyed it as well. This is really rich but is delicious...found the recipe over at Our Best Bites.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 3/4 C gingersnap crumbs (about 30 small cookies)
6T real butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
3/4 C ground pecans

3 8oz blocks cream cheese
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
6 oz melted white chocolate (that's about 1 C white chocolate chips)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/4 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves

- 1 C whipping cream, beat with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 4 Tbs powdered sugar until medium peaks form.
- 1/3 C roughly chopped pecans, either toasted or caramelized
- 2 Tablespoons jarred caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Using 2 large pieces of heavy duty foil, securely wrap the bottom and outside of your cheesecake pan. This will prevent leaks when using the water bath. (just to reiterate...make sure you wrap it don't want water leaking into your cheesecake or it makes a HoRrIbLe mess!)

For Crust:
Use a food processor (or blender as I did) to crush gingersnaps. Then do pecans. Combine gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar, and butter and stir well to combine. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Evenly spread across the bottom of pan and up the sides about 1 inch.

To melt chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

With the mixer running, slowly add in white chocolate in a steady stream (or steady blobs).

Pour mixture on top of the crust.

For water bath: (I sometimes just completely skip this may crack on you, but it will still be good!)

Place cheesecake pan inside of a larger pan. The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth. Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle or pitcher filled with hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center should be almost set. It will finish cooking while cooling.

When it's done, remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. This is a very soft cheesecake so sufficient chilling is a must!

When ready to serve spread sweetened whipped cream on top, drizzle caramel sauce over it, and sprinkle with pecans.
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